Los Angeles

Trip Start Apr 02, 2011
Trip End Sep 29, 2011

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Where I stayed
Holiday Inn Express - LAX

Flag of United States  , CA
Saturday, August 27, 2011

We were up early and JR took me to the airport for my 7:00 am flight to LAX. I was on Virgin America again. Again what a great airline. Great, young, enthusiastic flight attendants who actually smiled when they conversed with you and gave the impression they truly enjoyed their jobs. I once again loved the entertainment package they have on board. Lots of options from watching tv, movies, MTV, listening to tunes, playing games...you name it, you could do it. Made the flight an enjoyable one and a quick one.

I had one casualty in Seattle. Left my sunglasses at JR's house. No problem. First stop after landing in LAX after getting my rental car was heading to Target for some new sunglasses. Speaking of the rental car, it was a nice one. A Crown Vic. Sort of a boat, but nice, nonetheless.

I headed for Dodger Stadium for an afternoon (1:10 start) game. Traffic wasn't too bad until I got   near downtown...then it got tough.  Took me 45 minutes to go 2-3 miles.  

Got to the stadium and parked ($15) for relatively close parking.  The place is called Dodger Stadium, but some call it Chavez Ravine, named after Julian Chavez, a 19th Century LA Councilman.  It's definitely in a deep valley or ravine.  You can enter the stadium on several levels.  I bought my ticket ($70) making sure I sat in the shade (it was 95 degrees) for the afternoon game.  I walked into the stadium on the upper level.  It was waaaay up there.  Glad I was sitting closer to the action.  

The stadium was built in 1962 when the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn, NY to LA.  Some people have never forgiven them to this day.  It's a stadium that has seen a lot of action and a lot of hall of famers...Don Drysdale, Sandy Kolfax, Pee Wee Reese (what a great name and I used to watch him with Dizzy Dean on the Sunday Baseball Game of the Week!), Duke Snyder, Tommy LaSorda and Jackie Robinson who broke the "color barrier" for Major League Baseball.  What a storied history. Probably one of my favorite people who is still at Dodger Stadium is radio and tv play-by-play man, Vin Scully.  He is simply the best.  He puts "marble-mouth Shannon" or "I never met a stat I didn't like Len Kaspar" absolutely to shame!  Simply the best!  The stadium needs work.  One of only three I've been in that still has "troughs" for urinals rather than individual urinals.  You can't walk around the stadium and see it from all sides, as it doesn't go all the way around...it just seems dated.  

I hadn't had anything to eat, so I ordered a Dodger Dog.  Heard about them, and how good they were.  Actually ordered a Super Dodger Dog...all beef hot dog.  Good dog...maybe not the best, but good.

A good game with good fun people.  Not more than 15,000 people there for this afternoon tilt, but an enthusiastic crowd to watch the Dodgers take on the Colorado Rockies.  Great game.  Colorado jumped on top with 3 in the first and it was 4-0 in the 6th when the Dodgers came to bat.  The Dodgers scored 5 in the 6th to take a 5-4 lead before Tuliwinsky from the Rockies hit his second two-run homer of the game to give the lead back to the Rockies 6-5.  James Loney hit a solo shot in the 9th to tie it up for the Dodgers and it was extra innings for me again!  Then something I haven't seen all season...Matt Kemp blasted a walk-off homer for the Dodgers to win 7-6.  Walk-off homers are something special.  The fans, and the players just go crazy!  Great fun to watch!!!  And even better, I'm now 15 and 12 for the home team with three games left to see.  The worst I can be is .500!!!  

An Hispanic couple sat in front of me about halfway through the game.  The kid, who was three was great.  No whining, no "I want this" or "I want that."  He watched the game very closely.  He had a small plastic bat with him that he held in one hand constantly.  About the 7th inning, I asked his Mom who old he was, and complimented her on his behavior.  She thanked me. Then I asked him, " I see you have a bat.  Do you have a ball?"  He replied, "No."  I told him, "I found this one (a blue and silver Dodger baseball), and maybe you'd like it."  His eyes got big as saucers and he said, "Yes!"  He held that bat in one hand and the ball in the other the rest of the game.  Made me feel good!   

After finding my car, I headed to downtown LA to "Little Tokyo."  It was a good call, as most of the traffic was heading out of the city.  I had seen this place on MvF where Adam had eaten some very hot ramen noodles.  I was not as adventurous. The place is called Orchran Ramen and it's located in a three-story food court in Little Tokyo.  They have three different broths (Miso, Soy Sauce or Salt), and they obviously add noodles and any other meat and/or vegetables you would like.  Don't envision the Ramen noodles you get in the store...this is much heartier served in a six-inch wide bowl.   After a little help from the waiter, I decided on the Miso with egg, corn, bamboo shoots and bean sprouts.  They have levels of heat with 1 being no heat and 7 being "stupid hot."  I got #2.  It was spicy enough.  Busy place.  Great food!

Then I headed to my hotel (HI Express - LAX) which was only two blocks from Hertz and a mile from the airport.  Guess what...upgraded to a suite and took advantage of the  jacuzzi tub.  Called for a wake-up for my 9:15 flight to ABQ.  Heading there for an Airport Board Meeting.  Sandy is meeting me there (and will bring my clubs!) and I will also see some State Farm folks...Kevin Callis and Nan Lockenauer.  My membership on the Central Illinois Regional Airport Board lets me travel to this, my one and only conference of the year...undoubtedly the best airport conference in the country.  

As we move into September, I only have three ballparks left to visit, and I have them scheduled for the last three days of the season...Atlanta (Braves), Tampa Bay (Rays or do you still say Devil Rays?) and Miami (the Florida Marlins).  Looking forward to finishing this quest and checking it off the bucket list!  

It's been a fun adventure so far!  More later....


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